Amstrad’s wonderful TS55 launched 40 years ago this month!

I inherited one of these from my grandfather in the mid-late eighties and absolutely loved it. It could do everything and anything and not only allowed me to play all my vinyl singles and records (including this one – I make NO apologies for it), but my friends and I would make up our own radio shows. It had inputs for microphones and having the ability to record from any of the sources in the unit (tape, record or radio) make it extremely easy to add content to the tape you were recording on.

As a kid, copyright was not a thing – and I don’t think it was a thing for most other people who created mixtapes and shared them amongst friends. Things are very different with the internet these days – DRM has made things extremely difficult and it’s now difficult to truly own anything digital because the rights holder can pull content at any time. The UK still has some of the most conservative, consumer-unfriendly copyright laws in the world. Forget fair use – there is no fair use in the UK. Mixtapes have simply become shared playlists within the music streaming community – and songs can vanish without a moment’s notice if the contract is up, or the record label pulls it for any number of other reasons.

Alan Sugar had the guts to challenge the industry back in the day – and won – and I’m thinking that a lot of DJs and those that work in the radio and audio industries have a lot to thank him for.

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